Detecting and predicting the invasions of a non-native macrophyte throughout Michigan wetlands

Project Overview
Research Core Areas: 
Project Abstract: 
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae L. (European Frog-Bit, hereafter EFB) is an invasive macrophyte found in wetlands throughout the Great Lakes region but as of now, only has limited establishment in Michigan. EFB is a threat to many wetland ecosystems, as its presence can lead to declines in native vegetation cover, oxygen depletion in the water column, and degrade overall habitat quality for ecosystem services and recreation. While EFB is not yet ubiquitous in Michigan wetlands, its current distribution in coastal and inland wetlands (and in both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas) suggests that it has the potential to spread extensively throughout the state. Thus, ecologists and land managers are at a critical point in time to determine effective management and prevent complete statewide establishment of EFB in Michigan. For the summer of 2019, I plan to employ the early detection and rapid response (EDRR) approach to eradicate newly establishing EFB colonies). I will gather high resolution imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to detect new colonies in remote sites, conduct in-field control before establishment, and then predict wetlands where EFB is likely to establish. In addition, I will collect data on factors (both abiotic and biotic) that potentially facilitate EFB establishment at current sites and then incorporate these data in species distribution models (SDMs) to predict vulnerability of wetlands where EFB has yet to establish. Overall, these findings and strategies will ideally be incorporated into statewide management and risk assessment of vulnerable wetlands to prevent the complete establishment of this invasive macrophyte species.
Investigator Info
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